Nelson, T.S., Nepiyushchikh, Z., Hooks, J.S.T. et al. Lymphatic remodelling in response to lymphatic injury in the hind limbs of sheep. Nat Biomed Eng (2019) doi:10.1038/s41551-019-0493-1
Abstract: Contractile activity in the lymphatic vasculature is essential for maintaining fluid balance within organs and tissues. However, the mechanisms by which collecting lymphatics adapt to changes in fluid load and how these adaptations influence lymphatic contractile activity are unknown. Here we report a model of lymphatic injury based on the ligation of one of two parallel lymphatic vessels in the hind limb of sheep and the evaluation of structural and functional changes in the intact, remodelling lymphatic vessel over a 42-day period. We show that the remodelled lymphatic vessel displayed increasing intrinsic contractile frequency, force generation and vessel compliance, as well as decreasing flow-mediated contractile inhibition via the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase. A computational model of a chain of lymphatic contractile segments incorporating these adaptations predicted increases in the flow-generation capacity of the remodelled vessel at the expense of normal mitochondrial function and elevated oxidative stress within the lymphatic muscle. Our findings may inform interventions for mitigating lymphatic muscle fatigue in patients with dysfunctional lymphatics.